Four thousand six hundred and eighty-two.
That is about the number of days that I sent my kids off to school over the years. And at the end of each school day, as they walked in the back door, I would ask them the same question, “How was your day?” Typically, I got one of two replies, “It was fine” or “It was good”. A few times one of them walked in the door and just said, “Fine” even before I asked him the question.
I always hoped that my question would illicit a bit more from them in terms of thoughts and feelings about their day, but it rarely did. In their mind they had answered the question correctly and it was time to move on to see what was in the refrigerator.
Somewhere along the way, I started changing up the questions. I tried to think of questions that did not have a “Yes” or “No” answer. I tried not to make it a daily interrogation. I tried to think of questions that might get them to open up.
One afternoon, just as they were expecting me to ask about their day, I said, “Did you catch anyone picking their nose today?” That brought out a laugh and a story about seeing a lunch lady jamming a Kleenex in her nose and twisting it around like an upside down tornado.
If you are getting the same answer to the same question from your child, try switching it up a bit. Get creative in your ask. Think about how you might answer your question. Be willing to share with them about your day. Model what deep sharing can look like. As they see you become both articulate and vulnerable, they often will too.
To help you with this, I’ve brainstormed some of the kinds of questions I’ve asked over the years. I’ve also added ten sample follow-up questions that might help you dig a little deeper.
As a bonus, I’ve created a PDF of these questions that you can download, print, and cut into daily question cards to share with your kids each day. Click HERE for 60 Questions to Ask Your Child Instead of “How was your day?”
I’d love to add to this list. Feel free to add some of your favorite questions in the comment section below.
Sixty Questions Instead of “How was your day?”
- Tell me about something that made you laugh today.
- What was the best thing that happened today?
- What was the most interesting thing you learned today?
- Who were 2 or 3 people you talked today? What did you talk about?
- What is something you did today that you’d love to do every day?
- What was the hardest part of your day today? How did you deal with that?
- Tell me about the most difficult school problem you worked on today? Did you work on it alone or with others?
- If you could one do-over for yourself today, what would that be?
- What surprised you today?
- Rate your day from 1-10, (1 being awful – 10 being excellent). What made your day a _____?
- If you could have traded places with anyone in your class today, who would that have been? Why?
- What was the coolest thing you experienced today?
- When did you feel successful today?
- Was there a time when you were felt bored today?
- If I called your teacher today, what would he or she tell me about you?
- How did you show kindness to another person today?
- Was there a time when you or someone in your class felt left out today?
- What would have made your day a little better today?
- What did you do today that you’d never done before?
- How did you help a friend today? What happened?
- Tell me about something that challenged you today.
- Who is the nicest person in your class? Why do you think that?
- Share an amazing thing you learned today?
- Who did you meet today for the first time?
- Did you talk with God today? What did you talk about?
- If you could go to school tomorrow with one superpower, what would it be?
- Did you feel bad about a situation that happened today?
- What are you most excited about right now?
- Did anyone do anything really nice for you today?
- How might others have seen Jesus through you today?
- Would you teach me something that you’ve learned that I don’t know?
- Who did you talk with today that you’ve never talk with before?
- What are you anxious about today?
- If you could change one thing that happened today, what would that be?
- Tell me the names of four kids you sat near today?
- Did your teacher say anything today that made you laugh?
- Was there anything that you didn’t have today at school that you wish you had?
- What rule was the hardest for you to follow today?
- Who would you like to develop a friendship with?
- What is something you’ve learned at school that you think you will be able to use the rest of your life?
- Who made you smile today?
- Who did you make smile today?
- What is your favorite time of the day at school?
- If you could describe your day in just three words, what would they be?
- What did you do at recess today?
- What would the best day at school ever look like to you?
- What was the grossest thing someone was eating at lunch today?
- Tell me something new you learned about a friend today.
- What energized you today?
- When did you feel loved today?
- Tell me about something that made you giggle today.
- Did you have an embarrassing moment today?
- Who was a recipient of your kindness today?
- Considering your overall stress level today, would you say it is low, medium, or high?
- How did you show God’s love today?
- What were you thankful for today?
- Was there anyone in your class that had a tough day today? What could you do to help make that person’s day better?
- If they served one thing every day at lunch, what would you hope that would be?
- If you wrote a book about your day at school today, what would the title be?
- If you could get rid of one rule at school, what would that be? Is there any rule that you would add at school?
Ten Questions to Keep the Conversation Going.
- No Way! What did you do?
- Tell me more about that. What happened next?
- What would have made that situation better?
- Seriously? How did you respond to that?
- So, how does that make you feel?
- If you could have changed anything about that, what would you do?
- That’s amazing! What else can you tell me about that?
- Tell me how you responded to that?
- How does that make you think differently?
- What did others, think, say or feel about that?
Fathers, do not exasperate your children;
instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.